The KuKu-Yalanji Language is spoken by approximately 500-600 speakers on the coast of south eastern Cape York between Cooktown and Mossman and inland to Chillagoe and includes the community of Wujal Wujal. It is also written as Gugu Yalanji, Kokoyellanji, Gugu Yalandyi, etc.

The following KuKu-Yalanji language words are included on the Gambara Gamu Biyu body chart poster – use the language pen to hear and practise saying the words.

Aboriginal sounds

In pronouncing Aboriginal words, there are some sounds which are quite different to English and require practice.

'dh' is different to English - it is pronounced with the tongue at back of teeth.

'dj' is similar to English - it can be between ‘j’ and ‘ch’.

'ng' is one sound in Aboriginal languages and is different to the 'n' sound in English - it is closest to the 'ng' sound found in singer.

'nh' is different to English - it is pronounced with the tongue at back of teeth.

'ny' is one sound in Aboriginal languages and is different - it is closest to the 'n' sound found in onion.

'rr' is a rolled 'r' sound similar to a Scottish 'r'; at the end of a word it may sound like ‘d’.

English KuKu Yalanji
Arm daki
Belly waral
Blood ju-ju
Bottom/bum bun-ni
Chest du-mu
Chin bari
Ear milka
Elbow juril
Eyebrow / eyelash nyinki
Eyes myil
Face walu
Foot jina
Finger / hand mara
Forehead munju
Hair malka-bu
Head dukul
Heart wudal
Hip waba
Kidney ngun-gum-urr
Lip yimbi
Liver jiba
Mouth ngan-dal
Neck jakay
Shoulder binda
Skin yulban
Teeth ditha
Thumb mula
Toes durra
Tongue nyabil
Wrist jinbar

Learn more about KuKu-Yalanji!

Watch a digital story from Wujal Wujal “Adventures at Thompson’s Creek” featuring KuKu Yalanji language: http://vimeo.com/66614532

For items in the State LIbrary collections relating to Kuku Yalanji, click here.

Further information

To discover more about the Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander languages on the Body Chart, contact your local Library or Indigenous Knowledge Centre.

Community Organisations

There are several local community groups working with KuKu Yalanji language – contact the Indigenous Knowledge Centre at Wujal Wujal.

Indigenous Language Centre
The North Queensland Regional Aboriginal Corporation Language Centre (Cairns) centre looks after languages within North Queensland from Cooktown to Sarina and West to the Gulf. For more information visit their website www.nqraclc.com.au

State Library of Queensland

For further information on Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander languages at the State Library of Queensland, please contact:

kuril dhagun, State Library of Queensland
Stanley Place, South Brisbane Qld. 4101.
PO Box 3488, South Brisbane Qld. 4101.
t: (07) 3842 9836            f:   (07) 3842 9893
SLQ Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Languages web pages

Library membership

Become an SLQ member now to access our services, collections and facilities.

Library Shop online

Discover an eclectic range of books, gifts, reproduction prints and more at the Library Shop.